State health officials are urging Indiana residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the detection of the first West Nile virus case of 2022 in a Lake County resident. Due to privacy concerns, no additional information will be released about the patient.
West Nile virus has also been detected in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Steuben County.
“All Hoosiers should take precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites at their 4th of July celebrations and for the rest of the summer,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer Brown, D.V.M., M.P.H. “We are at risk for mosquito-borne disease through the first hard freeze.”
The Indiana Department of Health expects to continue to see additional West Nile virus activity as the mosquito season progresses. Residents across the state should take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure.
Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding site, so residents should take the following steps:
- Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold stagnant water;
- Repair failed septic systems;
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
- Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
- Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically;
- Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.
- Frequently replace the water in pet bowls; and
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
State health officials recommend the following measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases when venturing outside:
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning);
- Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin; and
- Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop symptoms, but those who do may experience a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some people will develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, or even death. People older than 60 years and those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of developing severe disease. Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus should see their healthcare providers.
To see the latest results of the state’s mosquito surveillance, go to https://gis.in.gov/apps/ISDH/Arbo/.
To learn more about West Nile virus, click here.